A group of patients at the J.D. McCarty Center are going on adventures, getting jobs and gaining more independence.
The patients are teen boys who are part of a new “Real World” program at the center. The program this summer is designed to give them experience with tasks such as interviewing and obtaining a job, cooking, making new friends and learning about community resources.
Six patients are involved in the pilot program.
One of the goals with the six-week program is to give patients insight into real-life experiences and help them learn more about social and work skills, such as maintaining a job, living with others and sharing in household chores, said Liz Moore, director of Applied Behavior Analysis services at the center.
Moore is working with a team of employees on the program that include direct-care specialists and employees from ABA services, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech-language pathology.
Moore said the group’s objective in designing the program was to ask how to “set these young men up for success,” and to offer activities and opportunities to help achieve those goals.
The patients’ schedules have included therapy sessions with the center’s rehab team, jobs in different departments at the center, group presentations and activities, such as a painting class, geocaching at a local trail and going to a professional softball game. They’ve also taken field trips to the University of Oklahoma and Dale Rogers Training Center in Oklahoma City to learn more about educational and workforce opportunities.
Wyatt Scott, one of the patients in the program, said he enjoyed the program and the field trips.
"It was cool just getting to explore and travel and see all these different people and places," Scott said. "Overall, it was a fun experience."
Moore said her hope is that the patients involved in the program also realize they can achieve goals and dreams they have set for their lives.
“I just want them to walk away and say, ‘That was a great time,’” Moore said.